Each day provides us a brand new news cycle, and it’s hard to keep up. Here’s a short list of the news and notes to keep you informed.
Republicans are panicking
Happy Monday! Republicans don't think they'll be able to keep control of the House — and so, according to The Washington Post, they're going to be focusing on the Senate. Because a complete Democratic control of Congress would be really bad, and not in the way you may have been thinking:
Worse yet, some in the GOP fear, Democrats could use complete control of Congress to co-opt the ideologically malleable president and advance their own priorities.
And here's how Republican insiders are thinking November will play out.
“If I had to bet right now, I’d say we lose the House,” said Dan Eberhart, a wealthy oil industry executive and major GOP fundraiser raising cash for several Senate contenders. At the same time, Eberhart predicted a Republican gain of three or four seats in the Senate. He said it is “galactically important” to hold the upper chamber of Congress so that Republicans can confirm nominations from the White House.
Sinclair subverts anti-Sinclair ad
The good news is that Sinclair Broadcasting allowed an advertisement critical of the company to air. The ad, from Allied Progress, said the company and its plans to expand in the country, were "dangerous to our democracy."
However, the company put in a disclaimer before and after the ad. Per CNN:
This station, which is owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group, is proud to present both sides of issues. For that reason, we have agreed to air the commercial you are about to see, opposing Sinclair's acquisition of additional television stations. We think the ad is misleading, but wanted to let you decide. Thank you.
And then, after the ad, there was another message — and this one wasn't as nice.
"The misleading ad you just saw focused on a brief promotional message that simply said we're a source for truthful news," the Sinclair voiceover says. "It ignored thousands of hours of local news we produce each year to keep you informed. The ad was purchased by a group known for its liberal bias, and we hope you won't buy into the hysteria and hype."
A milestone for "Black Panther"
"Black Panther" just keeps setting records. The superhero film's wave of popularity has sunk "Titanic," and now, with $665.3 million grossed, sits at No. 3 on the list of highest-grossing movies of all time. It trails only "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" and "Avatar." Per the Los Angeles Times:
Global ticket sales for "Black Panther" are approaching $1.3 billion, pushing the film into the worldwide top 10 for all time. “Panther” edged “Frozen,” which grossed $1.27 billion worldwide, for the No. 10 spot on the list.
The Apu boo-boo
"The Simpsons" came under fire Monday for its decision to recognize criticisms of the show for how it portrays its only Hindu character, Apu.
But the admission seemed to fall flat online, as noted by comic Hari Kondabolu, whose documentary, "The Problem with Apu," focused on the one-dimensional aspect of a foreign character with a funny voice.
Elsewhere, the reactions seemed to be the same.
Jimmy Kimmel apologizes
The feud between comedian Jimmy Kimmel and Fox News host Sean Hannity came to an end before it really had a chance to pick up.
"I realize that the level of vitriol from all sides (mine and me included) does nothing good for anyone, and in fact, is harmful to our country," Kimmel wrote.
How to win friends and influence constituents — with guns!
Over the weekend, Rep. Ralph Norman came under fire because, at a constituent meeting, the South Carolina Republican showed off his sidearm. To be fair, Norman did it because he saw that the crowd included gun control activists, according to The New York Times.
Here's how he explained himself on "Fox & Friends" Monday:
What's the real cause of the debt?
According to an opinion piece in The Washington Post — authored in part by former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen — the reason the U.S. deficit is going to go past $1 trillion next year isn't Social Security or Medicare. It's tax cuts.
The primary reason the deficit in coming years will now be higher than had been expected is the reduction in tax revenue from last year’s tax cuts, not an increase in spending. This year, revenue is expected to fall below 17 percent of gross domestic product — the lowest it has been in the past 50 years with the exception of the aftermath of the past two recessions. . .
Instead, the tax cuts passed last year actually added an amount to America’s long-run fiscal challenge that is roughly the same size as the preexisting shortfalls in Social Security and Medicare. The tax cuts are reducing revenue by an average of 1.1 percent of GDP over the next four years. The Hoover authors minimized the cost of the tax cuts by noting that if major provisions are allowed to expire on schedule — certainly an open question, given political realities — they would amount to “only” 0.4 percent of GDP. Even this magnitude exceeds the Medicare Trustees’ projections of a 0.3 percent of GDP shortfall in Medicare hospital insurance over the next 75 years.
Republicans are already anticipating Paul Ryan's retirement
House Speaker Paul Ryan hasn't announced anything — the Wisconsin Republican seems to plan to stay in office for a while — but fellow Republicans are already assuming he's going to retire after November, and some of them are already making plans to move in. Per Politico:
Two top members of Paul Ryan’s leadership team, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Majority Whip Steve Scalise, have begun angling for his job in the event the speaker calls it quits after the election.
They’re closely monitoring the moves of the other and quietly courting Republicans who could help them clinch the top post, according to 20 GOP lawmakers and aides interviewed for this story. . .
“Everyone is talking about this,” said one veteran Republican House member who asked not to be named of the brewing rivalry. “We’re sizing them up, seeing who would be a better fit. It’s the prism that we look at them through now.”